Seeing the beauty in old machines

23 May 2017
The Straits Times, Life, Page D3

Others may think of machinery as cold and practical, but artist Carey Ngai sees it as a thing of beauty. The 2016 UOB Painting of the Year award winner in the established artist category (Singapore), is launching his first solo art exhibition here after 10 years and many of the works revolve around an industrial theme.

“The works hint at the revolution of the industrial era, about how production methods are being revised,” Ngai tells The Straits Times in a telephone interview ahead of the launch of the exhibition. His Industry series - comprising 15 oil paintings and six ink sketches - depicts machinery in various states of disuse, showing how “in the absence of man, all machinery becomes abandoned”, he says. “There’s a sense of desperation and unease to the scene.”

The 49-year-old China-born artist, who also won awards in the 1998 and 2001 editions of the UOB Painting of the Year competition, is an associate professor at the Xiamen University College of the Arts in China. He first studied Chinese brush painting at the Guangzhou College of Fine Arts, but switched to oil painting after moving to Singapore to study at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

Since winning the award last November, Ngai, a Singapore permanent resident, has gone on to showcase his work at contemporary art fair Art Stage Singapore this year, and will be participating in an arts exchange programme by UOB in Bangkok this month. A Moment in Time is held at The UOB Art Gallery, ground floor, UOB Plaza 1, till July 24, 9am to 6.30pm daily. Admission is free.

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Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.


Carey Ngai

Industry 2.0 III